Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, August 28, 2011

I have just posted up the second half of the exceptionally popular album of photos of Medinet Habu by Heidi Kontkanen.  Over the last month, her first album was the third most visited page on Egyptological - and obviously the front page was one of the two more popular pages!  This is another wonderful set.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, August 21, 2011

If anybody is interested, William Cross has written a highly detailed biography of Almina Carnarvin (neƩ Wombwell), wife of Lord Cararvon.

I have finally finished my review of the book and published it on Egyptological.  Alternatively, you can go straight to the author's home page for the book for more details.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nothing to add at this stage

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, August 16, 2011

He was listening!  Dr Hawass has updated his blog with a message about what he is up to.

Stylistically I am sure that Dr Hawass has written this himself rather than some other posts which appear to have been written for him.  (I can "hear" how it would sound with him reading it and it matches his oral style.) It's free of braggadocio.  He sounds happy - almost relieved to be free from the responsibility of what had become an impossible job.  I am pleased for him. 

He says he is writing a book about the impact of the revolution on antiquities.  If that trots out the same olf official line which few people believe, then it will be useless propaganda.  But potentially he is the best-placed to write the true story.  If he does, then it could be an explosive best-seller.  We shall have to wait and see.

He also mentions the wall at Giza and personally I think that is probably his greatest achievement.  As well as hopefully improving conditions on the site it also protects the margins from the sort of encroachment seent on other sites. 

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My thanks to Andie Byrnes for spotting this news story that work has stopped on restoring the Avenue of the Sphinxes in Luxor.  It's a project ill-fated from the start.  There is more from Almasry Alyoum on the need for funds and that illegal encroachment has already started to fill the vacuum.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, August 13, 2011

The last post on Dr Hawass' personal blog was now one month ago, of 14th July.  It irritated me at times, and its impartiality was sometimes questionable, but compared to having to rely on FaceBook I almost reminisce and look back on the good old days.  Almost, but not quite of course because while I miss the blog, I don't miss the man.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, August 11, 2011

This is an interesting presentation by Elizabeth Murphy of Proteus Brown University, presented as a PDF.  It is something Andie Byrnes found - my thanks to Andie - while hunting for information and material about pugs in Ancient Egypt.  (If you can help with that, please visit Andie's request for information on Egyptological.)

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, August 11, 2011

I am disappointed by a rash of nuisance comments.  They also seem to have been directed to cause annoyance for one particular reader.  I have removed those comments and closed that posts to any further comments.  I prefer not to moderate comments hard, but these crossed the boundary of what I consider acceptable.

My apologoes to other readers.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, August 07, 2011

Thanks to Heidi Kontkanen for a beautiful set of photos of Medinet Habu which I have posted on Egyptological. There is a second set to follow.

For those who would like to see even more of Heidi's photos, she has a lot on Flickr:

(There  are a few minor stories to catch up on.  I have a full day tomorrow but I hope to be able to catch up here on Tuesday or Wednesday.)

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Andie Bynres found a story online which claims that scientists in Switzerland have analysed Tutankhamun's Y-chromosome and determined his haplogroup to be R1b1a2.  The story is bouncing around several fora and blogs but the source is hard to determine.  This article others rather more information and claims that the scientists have also analysed KV55 (they say Akhenaten so lets translate that back into a mummy and avoid the identification wit Akhenaten) and Amenhotep III.  The scientists work for the Zurich-based DNA genealogy center, iGENEA.

That's when the story gets murky, because their website not only will sell you a test to see if you too are related to King Tutankhamun, they state:

In the year 2009 extended DNA-tests had been carried out with the mummy of Tutankamun and other members for his family. These have only partially been published in February 2010. Despite several demands, the results of the Y-DNA tests have been shut away. 

iGENEA was able to reconstruct the Y-DNA profile of Tutankhamun, his father Akhenaten and his grandfather Amenhotep III with the help of a recording of the Discovery Channel.
So this is not new work on the official raw data.  There are two problems with working from the Discovery Channel videos.  The first is that the team which analysed Tutankhamun's DNA for publication in JAMA have stated that the first lab sequences were shot in the lab.  However, it was taking them a week to re-sterilise the lab to resume work so TV crews were banned and much of the lab sequences were reconstructions.  Now we know that, using the TV footage has to carry a warning that the results shown on TV may not be real - and so far as the Y chromosome is concerned could for instance by a reconstruction using the DNA of one of the scientists himself.  Even if the footage was accurate, there is concern among geneticists that the results were contaminated and the methodology of the original study uncertain. 

Putting the two together, with suitable caveats the data is probably useful to indicate familial relationships.  I don't however feel comfortable myself with claims of a European haplogroup in such circumstances.  It's possible, but the chance that it is a spurious result from a dramatised reconstruction seems very real to me. 

We go back to wishing that the raw data had been fully published and then such stories wouldn't arise.


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